How Much Does It Cost to Hire a PHP Developer?

Hiring a great PHP programmer isn't easy. One of them isn't qualified enough, the other is difficult to communicate with, and the third is uninterested in your job offer. And if your deadlines are tight, then the task becomes even more challenging.

Where to start the process of finding your ideal candidate? How to test his skills and abilities? We answer these and other questions in our article. We’re going to explain to you how to hire a PHP developer of the professional level you need and tell you how much it’ll cost you. Just keep reading.

Who are PHP Developers?

As the name suggests, these experts are professionally engaged in PHP development. And by the way, they’re very in demand today.

The fact is, according to the search engines, at least 80% of web resources with traffic of 10+ million users monthly are PHP-based. Even super famous platforms don't hesitate to use this programming language. Let's just say, the most popular websites on PHP include Wikipedia and Facebook... impressive, right?

PHP ranks high among the top programming languages, it is in the 6th place among them. So PHP experts won't remain out of the job anytime soon.

But before we tell you how to hire a PHP developer, let’s figure out his or her main professional responsibilities.

 PHP developer responsibilities:

  • Creation of full-fledged websites or separate modules (whichever is required);

  • Website launch and, if necessary, its administration;

  • Integration of the site with additional third-party solutions;

  • Drawing up technical reports;

  • Optimization of the online platform, whether it’s improving its functionality or fixing found bugs;

  • Communication with other experts (PM, QA engineers, UI/UX specialists, etc.).

The list can be continued and adjusted, it all depends on the specific project. But, in short, PHP developers are responsible for creating a web resource. They must also ensure its further trouble-free and smooth operation.

What skills and knowledge should a PHP programmer have?

  • broad knowledge of HTML, javascript, CSS. These are real must-haves;

  • understanding of algorithms, MVC, ajax technologies, and the ability to successfully apply them in work;

  • understanding of different programming patterns;

  • the ability to write clear and flexible code and optimize it if necessary. Also, the code must meet certain standards (PSR);

  • competent work with databases;

  • knowledge of key PHP tools and popular frameworks and understanding when and which one should be used.

And again, we’ve given a rather approximate list of skills and abilities of a PHP programmer. In fact, much depends on the level of his expertise. 

We suggest discussing the issue in question in more detail so that you’ll be able to hire a PHP developer you really need.

Junior, Middle, and Senior PHP Developers

  • Junior level. As you can imagine, a junior developer is a beginner in programming who is taking his very first steps in the profession. He needs to know basic PHP/MySQL, get the essence of MVC/OOP, have an understanding of how Git works, and be able to successfully use CMS engines like WordPress and Magento (which, by the way, is more complicated than it sounds). But most importantly, a junior developer should be prepared to continue his training.

  • Middle level. A middle programmer must have at least several years of PHP development experience. Therefore, he is presumably skilled enough to perform most of the tasks on his own. His knowledge is deeper than in the previous case, he confidently works with Git, MySQL, and the latest PHP versions, successfully writes Unit-tests, and applies MVC in practice. In addition, he knows the basics of popular frameworks like Angular and React.

  • Senior level. Well, everything is clear here, isn't it? A senior developer has extensive experience and the highest professional qualifications.

Steps to Hire a PHP Developer

Now that you are better acquainted with the community of PHP developers, it's time to discuss the issue of hiring one of them. What should you do to find the expert you need?

Vacancy description

This is a fairly common step, but there is no way to avoid it. Traditionally, a job description includes the following points:

  • Name. Don't speak in generalities, add some specifics. Write something like “PHP (Symfony) Programmer” or “PHP (Angular) Developer” (or whatever you’re looking for in your specialist). You get the idea, don't you?

  • Description of your company. Don’t be too shy, describe all the achievements and successes of your agency.

  • Job responsibilities. Specify what exactly the developer you're hiring would have to do during his working day.

  • Required technology stack. Explain what the applicant must know (to be precise, without which skills he won’t get a job). You can also add what knowledge and skills would be an extra advantage (although they aren’t the main job getting condition).

  • Your promises. Finish the job description with a story about what awaits your future employee, what bonuses he’ll get if he joins your team.

It's not enough to write a cool job description to hire a PHP developer. The next steps in the recruiting process are even more important.

Selection of applicants

In the second phase of hiring, you should filter out candidates who seem totally unsuitable to you. 

Suppose, it’s done but there're still too many of them left. Surely, it'd be unprofitable to arrange an interview with each one, do you agree?

If we guessed right, try to proceed in stages. First, discuss the most important issues with applicants by phone, email, or Skype. Such an approach would simplify the whole thing.

Interviewing candidates

Now it's time to personally meet with those lucky ones who have managed to pass your initial selection. So far, this is just a preliminary acquaintance with a potential new employee and communication on general topics. The task is to determine the approximate level of the applicant's expertise and figure out whether he or she would fit into your team. In the end, you'll have to work together!

What should you discuss with PHP developers in your first interview?

  • Candidate experience. You need to find out in which companies he worked and what tasks he performed. Let him describe his professional achievements.

  • Portfolio. Ask him to share his experience of working on projects he is proud of.

  • Professional growth. Is he ready to grow as a professional? If so, in which direction?

  • Reason for changing jobs. Yes, the question is trivial, but it's better to discuss it anyway. The applicant's answer will tell you a lot about a possible team member.

  • Candidate expectations. What does he want to get in a new job? What salary expectations does he have? This way you can see if your company is able (and willing) to deliver the desired.

Technical interview

The second interview should be of a different (technical) nature. Now it is important to test the candidate's expert skills and knowledge. Is he really as good as he says in a professional sense?

There are a lot of options to test the PHP development experience of the applicant. The key is to involve technically qualified employees of your company in the process.

Here are some simple examples of a candidate's skill test:

  • Offer the applicant to complete a programming task. Of course, it should be similar to the work that the hired employee will have to do later.

  • Ask professional questions. It’s not about general questions like “What kind of work experience do you have? How long have you been in the community of PHP developers?" You’ve already asked these questions earlier and received your answers (which, in theory, you liked). Now you must test the real knowledge of the candidate, which means you need questions related to the essence of the PHP programming language.

  • Give the candidate 'homework'. A technical interview lasts no more than a few hours, during which the candidate will be able to complete only more or less simple tasks. However, if you are hiring a middle or senior professional, longer and more complex work may be required. In such a case, ask the candidate if he is ready to do a kind of "homework" and send the result later (not everyone is ready, at least for free, as many PHP Developers value their time too much).

Final choice

Well, it's almost done. Now you just have to analyze each candidate you interviewed, weigh all the pros and cons, and make the final choice.

Wanna know more about PHP? Then follow the link and read our blog piece on the top PHP frameworks!

We've explained to you how to hire a PHP developer, but we've failed to mention where exactly to search for him (or her), to begin with. Let's rectify this omission of ours!

Where to Look for PHP Developers?

  • Professional social networks. Surely, popular Linkedin is an excellent resource for finding specialists of various profiles.

  • Programmers' forums. The community of PHP developers has its own forums where programmers share expertise and experience with each other. You, too, are welcome to visit these forums to communicate with possible employees.

  • Conferences. Keep an eye on the schedule of IT conferences and be sure to join those that web developers (in particular, PHP programmers) can attend. There you’ll have the opportunity to chat with potential candidates (say, during a coffee break).

    • The advantage of the described recruiting approach is that the expert attending the conference is clearly focused on his professional growth and development of his expertise (which is always a good thing).

  • Competitors. You can also analyze competitive companies and figure out where they are looking for their staff.

PHP Development Experts: Are They Expensive?

To start with, the market situation often changes, which leads to fluctuations and swings in the programmers' rates (and developers’ salaries usually rise than vice versa). However, we can give you indicative numbers.

According to Ziprecruiter, PHP expert salaries in the United States range between $15K and $135+ K annually. The infographic below illustrates our words quite well.

PHP Development Experts


Wanna know more accurate information? That’s okay, Ziprecruiter provides it!

Technical interview


If the salary level confuses you and seems too high, consider candidates outside the US. The point is, IT professionals from the United States, the United Kingdom, and several other Western European countries have the highest rates.

Let’s say, Eastern European developers have lower salaries, although they work efficiently anyway (it's all about the standard of living, as you understand). You may need to partner with them remotely, but sometimes it's worth it.Do you have any other questions about how to hire a PHP developer? We’re happy to answer them right now.

Do you have any other questions about how to hire a PHP developer? We’re happy to answer them right now.



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